The father of one of the two young men suspected of killing three people in northern B.C. this summer has now viewed a short video clip of his son detailing his last will and testament, filmed before he and his friend killed themselves in the wilds of northern Manitoba.
On Thursday morning, an RCMP investigator showed Al Schmegelsky and his lawyer the 30-second clip, which is one of a handful of videos The Globe and Mail has learned Bryer Schmegelsky and Kam McLeod recorded while on the run at the end of July and start of August.
Two sources familiar with the investigation confirmed these other videos existed but could not corroborate the contents of the different clips shot by the pair from Port Alberni, B.C. The Globe granted them confidentiality because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Mounties had released the clip to Mr. Schmegelsky’s mother, but had previously refused to show his last words to his father, who has lived in the Victoria area since he and his wife split up more than a decade ago. After the two men were charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of University of B.C. botanist Leonard Dyck, Al Schmegelsky told news media the pair of fugitives were “going to go out in a blaze of glory.”
Mounties would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the videos.
Sarah Leamon, a Vancouver-based lawyer who recently began representing Mr. Schmegelsky, said her client had “regular contact and spoke on a regular basis” with his son. She confirmed the two were “in recent communication” after his son left town in July for what he described as a road trip to the Yukon to look for work.
She said her client became “extremely emotional” and “very upset” while watching the clip and it has been a very difficult time for him.
Bryer Schmegelsky and Mr. McLeod were also named suspects in the killings of American tourist Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler.
On Thursday, before viewing the clip at the RCMP’s B.C. headquarters in Surrey, Mr. Schmegelsky signed a non-disclosure agreement stating he would not discuss its contents until “the time that the RCMP releases the video or a portion of the video to the general public, should it choose to do so,” Ms. Leamon said.
RCMP Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said Thursday that Mounties are still committed to providing an update on the case, “however we have no definitive plans as to what will form that update, nor when the update will be provided.”
Ms. Leamon said her client should have been able to view the video much earlier, as is his right as the suspect’s father.
“He’s not impressed with how the RCMP has handled this,” she said. “It shouldn’t have taken me getting involved.
“But ultimately the RCMP did come to a reasonable conclusion by allowing access through negotiation rather than litigation.”
Court records dating back to 2008 show that Al Schmegelsky was charged with several counts of criminal harassment, and he has said in an interview that at least some of those charges were filed because his son’s mother feared he would murder her.
He was ordered in 2010 to have no contact with his ex-wife, her boyfriend or her mother.
Bryer Schmegelsky and Mr. McLeod went from being missing persons to murder suspects on July 23, triggering a manhunt that stretched two weeks and five provinces and drew intense media attention from around the world.
On Aug. 12, Mounties confirmed that two bodies located in Manitoba on Aug. 7 were that of the suspects, and that they had died of suicides by gunfire.